Bidjar Ngoulin to Lake BRockman
Munda Biddi Trail
The Ride - Here we go. This section was one I was not looking forward to riding from the very start and after hearing a first hand account of the terrible scenery through here, I was at least mentally prepared for the worst today. There are two factors going into making this section the worst one on the entire Munda Biddi (my personal opinion of course) with the bushfires that hit this area in 2015 combined with the cancerous destruction of the northern Jarrah forests by Alcoa, South32 and others. I'll try not to go into full rant mode on this one as I really tried to go into the section with a positive and unbiased mindset.
After a rest at the Bidjar Ngoulin Campsite for lunch, we refilled water bottles and packed our things away to begin the second half of the day. The goal was Lake Brockman where we had booked a cabin to stay in for the night and my aim was to fly through this section and reach the accommodation before the shop closed so we could pick up some snacks. As I had the paper maps and Aron had bought the Munda Biddi app on his phone, it was no surprise that the start of this section would involve some climbing with a big puppa (100m+ climb) on the cards after leaving camp. Leaving just after midday, the sun had been quite warm during the mid-morning and would only get hotter from here. Being on a pretty exposed vehicle track as we started climbing did help and the fires had gone a long way to getting rid of any canopy that may have been there in the first place. This type of recovering forest is not too pleasant to walk/ride through with the large trees all sprouting green jumpers thanks to the epicormic regrowth and the ground level full of tunnels of invasive plants like Soap Bush that grow rapidly after fire.
Combined with the dread of what was to come, I didn't overly enjoy this section so put my head down and played some podcasts to lighten the mood. Joined by Sean Fennessy, Amanda Dobbins and Chris Ryan from The Big Picture as they went through another movie draft made the climbing easier and gave me some ideas for my own podcast. There were bried moments of enjoyment along the trail with some flowering Wattle, Golden Buttercups and some WTF items that had been dumped including a bar stool and a pram. I feel these just add to the character of this section and I hope they stay there, becoming public art pieces commenting on the relationship society as a whole has with this section of the track. Reaching the steepest part of the climb, the forest opens up and you are left very exposed to the sun, adding to the displeasure of the experience. For over a kilometre here you are on gradients ranging from 6 to 12% and eventually both Aron and I were off the bikes, pushing them up the hill. At the top of the hill you are rewarded with the first of many Alcoa artefacts, the tunnel under the hauling road that will be familiar to any Bibbulmun Track hiker that has dropped a car off at the Driver Road bridge.